29 November 2010

[vacations: The Oasis of the Seas]

Well.   We've been back for over a week - and it really feels like it was a lifetime ago that we were on the Oasis of the Seas.  Why is that?  Why is it that whenever you come back from somewhere, it feels like you never even left?  Not sure - but the reality of snow and cold and power outages and the rest of it came smacking me in the face last week.  Now - I'm pretty used to things again ... although looking through these pics gave me an ache in my tummy for somewhere warm ... 

This vacation was 2 years in the planning.  When our cousins went with us on the Liberty of the Seas, we had such a fantastic time that we immediately started planning our next cruise together.  Shortly after we came home, I found out I was pregnant with Katia, and so we did the math ... when she was 14 months old we'd be ready to have a few days away.

Our cousins and us decided on the Oasis of the Seas - the most incredible ship on the water to date - and we really didn't care about where it went.   As long as it was HOT, we were going to be happy!

We started in Fort Lauderdale, and there I met up with a friend of mine who I traveled to Nicaragua, El Salvador and Belize with ... it's been over a decade since I saw her, and it was like no time had passed.  How I wish she didn't live on the other side of the continent ... or maybe, how I wish I lived closer to her - it's a lot warmer in Florida *grin*!  I hope she knows how much I love her ...

We arrived a day early so we could get used to the time change and have a bit of "down time" before we boarded the ship.  Our day in Fort Lauderdale was lazy and quiet - and we had a fantastic dinner in town ... it was warm and lovely.

We boarded the ship on Saturday morning - and we were so excited.  Can you tell??  (Oh, and I'm not in a lot of pics ... the memory card I have from my cousin's camera won't fit into my computer so I haven't seen the pics she's taken yet ... )

... checking out the back of the ship called the "Boardwalk" ... this is where the carousel is, the donut shop and candy store, some restaurants and surf shops and the amphitheatre - where the diving show takes place.

... our home away from home, on the ship.  We had adjoining rooms with MandC.

... the view from our balcony - overlooking "Central Park".

... as we were heading out to sea, we met up with the "Allure of the Seas".  Her maiden voyage is this coming weekend - and it was a media frenzy as they planned to have both ships side by side.  There was a helicopter filming the two sister ships, there were tugboats spraying water into the air ... people cheering and we got really close to the Allure.  If you go to the Oasis of the Seas website, there are some pics up there of the whole thing ... I'm the "dot" on deck 15 *grin* ... 

... the dining room.  Our table was in the lower left corner of this pic ... you can see C's shoulders *grin*.

We had three stops ... our first in Labadee, Haiti.  This is where we went ziplining last time we stopped here two years ago.  This time, we chose to just sit, read, listen to our Ipods ... and my hubby - he was happy with a cold drink and the sunshine ... 

... dinner.

The diving show was incredible.  Jumping into a pool of water on a moving ship - a little insane, I think.

We also stopped in Costa Maya, Mexico.  And we had a fantastic day sitting at the beach  ....

One of the highlights for me, was being able to work out every day - and not have to figure out how it was going to work into my day.  I did a lot of running, I have a race coming up in 4 weeks, but I also took advantage of the swanky equipment in the ship's gym ... 

... more pics around the ship ...

We also went to Cozumel, Mexico - but it was raining and so I didn't bring my good camera.  I used my cousin's - and that memory card is staring at me as I type this ... trying to figure out a way to make is fit in the slot *grin* ... 

... and than, all too fast - the last night *sob*.

... and waiting to be filed off like cattle.

As to be expected, I have about a million pics - so when I look at the 20 that I've chosen, it doesn't seem to quite cut it.  But that's a taste of what our week was like ... 

I am so thankful for both sets of our parents for moving into our home and looking after our three kids for us.  Of course, when we came home the kids were happy to see us - but there were tears when they realized their grandparents were moving out.  I love that our kids have a great relationship with both sets of grandparents ... and without them, NONE of this would've been possible.  I'm so thankful that they see the value in my hubby and having some time away, and that they also see the value in having one on one time with their grandkids.  I love you all!!

And I was talking with my cousin C and we think that going away for one week on our own each year is something worth planning.  If our parents will help us out, it may be something we can consider again for next year.  That would be incredible.  

If not, hopefully in two years we can go again ... we are so grateful for the time we've had, and the doing it again one day is definitely something we'd love to do ...  we shall see.

Have a great one!

25 November 2010

[make: Sinful Caramel Popcorn]

... ok people - gimme a sec here :-).

I posted a pic of a yummy pan of caramel popcorn in the oven about 15 min ago on Facebook and people started asking if there was a recipe to share.

Why yes, yes there is *grin*.

And I thought it would be easiest to post it on this site than have it up in a convo on Facebook. 

So here it is ... and I warn you - I've eaten about 5 handfuls in the last 10 minutes.

Caramel Popcorn

5 cups fresh air popped popcorn 
1/2 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla


1. Melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Stir constantly until it begins to boil - then let it boil UNTOUCHED for 4 minutes.
2. Add the baking soda and vanilla; stir.
3. Pour over the prepared popcorn in a large baking pan (or two).
4. bake in 200F oven for 1 hour, stirring every 20minutes or so ... if you like it CHEWY, then bake less.

It's super easy ... but I will also warn you that I've been typing this with one hand as I accidentally poured the boiling sugar on my hand ... and it stuck - couldn't get it off - screaming craziness.  Yup.  I'm a classy cook with an icepack inbetween my stinging fingers *yuck*.. 


And hey ... have a good one :-).

24 November 2010

[digiscrap: Smack Back Into Reality ]

Two days ago was Sunday, November 21.   November twenty-first.  It's an important day to us as it's our anniversary date ... twelve years we've been married.  TWELVE.  Some days it feels like we've been married for moments and other times, I feel like I've never NOT been married.  *laughing*.  No?  You've never felt like that?  Oh.  *grin*.

I've been SICK since we got back ... oh - did I mention? ... 

Last week, my hubby and I joined our cousins and ventured off to the Caribbean on a cruise.  Our vacation was 9 days, including traveling days ... and it.was.wonderful - I won't lie.

We had gone away with our cousins 2 years ago - and had the most incredible time ... I'm actually now in a little bit of mourning over it.  Totally GRATEFUL for having gone, but now that it's over - it's kinda sad.  But I guess that's like anything that's over that was looked forward to ... Every good thing must come to an end.

So, I have a ton of pics and stories that I want to share with you all ... but not today (or should I say "tonight" as I type this ...).

For today ... yup - you guessed it ... MORE pages.  Flying for 7hours gave me so much time to digiscrap ... and if you know me, I like to use my time wisely, even ON vacation *grin*.

Here are a few pages that I finished up ... stay tuned for pics and stories of our cruise on the "Oasis of the Seas."  


Phewf!!  And ... yup.  There's more.

I hope I'm not boring you with all of this ...

Have a good one!

16 November 2010

[digiscrap: Ok. Last One for Now.]

Just when you thought you couldn't stand to see another set of pages ... I go and throw these at you *grin*.  

But this is the last set for a while, I promise.

My next post is going to be on the book that I've been working on with a group of women who have lost a child.  If you've submitted your story, I'll be contacting everyone shortly.  Thanks for your patience ... and if you haven't quite finished it yet, you've still got time.  More details to come ... 

But.  For now ... more pages.

Have a great one!

click images to enlarge

11 November 2010

[digiscrap: Yup.]


Are you sick of 'em yet??  Probably ... you've seen my kid's little faces for the last few posts.  And my feeble attempts at trying to make each page different ... 

If you're a digiscrapper, I hope you leave a way for me to view YOUR work.  I'm feeling so uninspired -  these pages are all becoming a blur to me ... So.  If you have pages - let me see 'em!!  PLEASE!!

And if you're not ... well.  You might want to give it a-go.  

Just sayin'.


Have a great one!

09 November 2010

[digiscrap: Hack Hack.]

*hack hack cough cough*

Yup.  Sick.

BUT - the best thing about being sick this year??  MEDICINE.  Oh, you may laugh - but this is the first time in SIX years that I've been able to take cough medicine!!  Whoo hooo!!  Having babies, can make winter time really, really horrible ... but not this year.  This year - I shall NeoCitron myself and Buckleys myself and Tylenol Sinus myself if I need to.

Ahhh.  What freedom *grin*.

... on another note, the WINNER from my "Loony Shoots" contest over on my RedHanded Photography blog has been revealed.  Click HERE to check out the winning "ghastly" photo.  Made.  Me.   Laugh.

And ... more pages.

I have done close to 60 pages in the last two weeks, and that's felt so great.  Those photos and memories are no longer hanging over me ... Pics from last year, pics from this year - it's all a mix-mash.  BUT - they are all printed and in their rightful book now ... feels good.

Ok ... that's about it for now *hack hack* ... oh, and no working out for me *sigh*.  It's been almost a week and I feel like a bloated heifer.  But my lungs won't let my heart rate go up, so, instead I'm drinking ginger green tea and am thankful there isn't any more Halloween candy in the house for me to gorge on.

I'm not weighing myself.  *cough*.  The scale can wait until next week.  

Yes.  I am in denial.

Alrightee ... enough already.

Have a great one *grin*!

(click images to enlarge)

03 November 2010

[digiscrap: Feels Good.]

So.   In the last 3 nights, I have done 30+ digiscrap pages.  I will admit that the creativity is lacking - at this point it's just been about getting it DONE, not how good it looks.  As of last night, I am now up to September 2010 - so Siah's first day of preschool, pumpkin patches and Halloween are next.

Well.  That's not entirely true ... 

See - when I upload my pics from my camera, they go into directly into my editing program (Lightroom).  Then, I edit the pics ... and they can sit there for months (like the 1400 pics I have from the family group trip we all took in August).  After they're edited, I export them to a file called "Lightroom Moves" and the year (ie Lightroom Moves 2010).  And the truth is, is that I am up-to-date in THAT file with scrapping ... but there are still pics in my Lightroom 2009.  But - here's the thing - they are pictures that I don't really care about *gasp*.  I may just delete them ... and start fresh.  To be up-to-date would be glorious.

If you're a scrapper - and are feeling overwhelmed - I HIGHLY recommend learning the digiscrap method.  It's fast, no mess, you don't run out of supplies, and the pages are FLAT.  It's more than half the cost too (each printed page is $2.99 at Costco ... that's pics, "papers" and "embellishments").  The downside?  Well - you have to back them up (if you want), you have to save them as a photoshop file and jpeg file ... but, that's about it.


Here are a few pages that I finished BEFORE the 30page stint.  Yup.  Lots of pages to put up.  Just preparing you ... 

Have a great one!

double click the images to enlarge.

02 November 2010

[be challenged: The Race]

This past weekend I entered my first 5km Race called the "Spooktacular".  I actually wasn't nervous - I knew that I could easily run the 5km, but I didn't know the route and also really wanted to push myself for my time.

I arrived - alone.  My hubby and kids were at hockey practice and that was a bit of a downer.  I don't really do anything that my kids can come and be a part of ... and this being my first race, it would've been nice.  But, I knew it just couldn't be - and that was ok.

I arrived early - and found out that there were a bunch of kiddie activities for Halloween before the race.  People were dressed up in costumes - I was dressed in full running gear.  I was taking this very seriously  *grin*.  

The long and the short was that I did my best.  Literally.  My time was 33.19 ... almost a minute less than my previous best.  Although - my iphone app that I use for my runs actually said I only ran 4.65km.  So - that leads me to think that the $4.99 app really isn't that accurate ... and now a running watch is on my "wish list" for Christmas.    I mean - I could be running much farther than I actually think.  Or less *shudder*.  A 5km race isn't going to be 4.65km.

The best part?  The finish line, of course - with my time in big orange flashing numbers.  And my dear friend, CW, who surprised me with her son ... and cheered me on as I sprinted my heart out.  I sobbed when I crossed the line ... and her eyes welled too.  I'm so happy that I wasn't alone for that moment ... it made it just that much more special.

SO ... this is something that I never thought I would do.  It's been a challenge for me for the last few months ... and I really can't believe that I'm CHOOSING to enter races.  I'm registered for a January 1st 5km and a 10km at the end of January.  Hopefully I'll be able to push through the winter weather and train. 

A winter running jacket is on my wish list too *grin*.

Have a great one!